What Is Science?

Science is an organized enterprise that constructs and develops knowledge in the form of predictions and testable interpretations about the universe. The scientific enterprise includes such disciplines as philosophy of science, physics, astronomy, botany, ecology, medical science, zoology, forestry, anatomy, zoological sciences, health sciences, physical sciences, environmental science, genetics, bacteriology, electricity and magnetism, physical sciences and chemistry. The progress made by science in providing knowledge has led to the invention of new methods and materials for the improvement of human life. It has also helped in the betterment of technology.

The process of science consists of three basic stages: Ideas before investigation, experimentation and measurement. Ideas are the concepts or fundamental theories that are used to explain the observations and experiment. The hypotheses provide the knowledge about what the observations mean and must be tested to find out whether it is true or not. Once a hypothesis is rejected it is replaced by another theory which is usually more plausible. When both hypothesis and theory are rejected, the research is considered as a hypothesis-free study.

In order to test the scientific method all the facts that can be verified by the senses must be available. This includes external world such as temperature, atmosphere, pressure, light, sound, composition of matter, solar and terrestrial weather, visibility and wind speed. All the facts can be verified by making use of the senses of sight, smell, touch, and hearing. After a series of experiments, conclusions and hypothesis are formulated, and they are tested according to the standard procedures of the scientific method.

Hypotheses are not only used to explain the observations but are also used to test them. When a hypothesis is found to be false, it is replaced by another one. This procedure of hypothesis testing is referred to as the refutation of a hypothesis. Properly formed hypotheses can significantly contribute towards the understanding of nature and therefore play an important role in science teaching.

The formation of a hypothesis and its validation are the central aspects of science teaching. A hypothesis is nothing but a simple idea or a pure guess. It is mainly based on the observations that the scientist has made and is supported by the existing theory. The goal of science is the systematic observation of nature and data collected by the scientist and then interpreting these results to lead to a particular conclusion. While a scientist may adopt any hypothesis, the results of his investigations should be consistent and repeatable so that the validity of his arguments can be tested by other scientists.

A hypothesis is useful because it helps to make observations and predictions, but when it is wrong, there are no good explanations as to why it was wrong. Scientists are on the look out to explain why things are as they are and they do this through scientific methods like observations, measurements, calculations, and models. The theories put forth by scientists are also useful in predicting the future of the field and drawing public attention to it.